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Why Economists Do Not Make Discoveries

In: Contemporary Economic Issues


  • Edmond Malinvaud



Methodology has an ambiguous position in science. On the one hand, it appears as a soft part in any discipline it is discussing:1 the statements are more disputable than in the substantial parts of the discipline; they are mainly meant to define the legitimate domains of the use of existing scientific practices, rather than to change these practices fundamentally; thus methodology follows rather than leads scientific progress. On the other hand, methodology is an unvoidable part of science: since research is a collective activity, scientists must aim at agreement on the objectives pursued; they need norms of significant achievement and good practice; when various schools co-exist, they may disagree with each other more about some objective or norm than on substantial issues. Many objectives and norms are common to all disciplines, whether they are in the natural or the social sciences; but each discipline also has its own features, implying particular ways of looking at problems and scientific behaviour.

Suggested Citation

  • Edmond Malinvaud, 1998. "Why Economists Do Not Make Discoveries," International Economic Association Series, in: Holger C. Wolf (ed.), Contemporary Economic Issues, chapter 1, pages 1-14, Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:intecp:978-1-349-26072-0_1
    DOI: 10.1007/978-1-349-26072-0_1

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